(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Discovery of Competence at the Edge of Literature and Society"

ISSN 0281-9864 



Discovery of Competence 
at the Edge of Literature and Society 



Inger Bierschenk 



1997 



No. 64 




Copenhagen University 
Denmark 




Lund University 
Sweden 



KOGNITIONSVETENSKAPLIG 
FORSKNING 

Cognitive Science Research 



Discovery of Competence 
at the Edge of Literature and Society 



Inger Bierschenk 



1997 No. 64 



Cognitive Science Research 

Lund University 
University of Copenhagen 



Editorial board 

Bernhard Bierschenk (editor), Lund University 
Inger Bierschenk, University of Copenhagen 
Ole Elstrup Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen 
Helge Helmersson (adm. editor), Lund University 



Cognitive Science Research Adm. editor 

Copenhagen Competence Helge Helmersson 

Research Center Dep. of Business Adm. 

University of Copenhagen Lund University 

Njalsgade 88 P.O. Box 7080 

DK-2300 Copenhagen S S-220 07 Lund 

Denmark Sweden 



Abstract 

This article presents a competence-oriented experiment on the comprehension of ideas 
in modern literature. Comprehension is defined as being indicative of competence as 
distinct from qualification. 1 1 7 students from various educational programs in a 
Swedish gymnasium participated in a course on modern literature and society. In the 
process of testing, the students were at two occasions exposed to three videotaped 
projections of model societies. In this connection they responded to 15 propositional 
statements on the quality of life in the projected societies. The instrument measures 
competence of civilisation by two factors, (FI) Eigenvalue and (FII) visibility of 
social texture. The model societies represent three dimensions of ideas connected to 
three scientific paradigms, namely affinity, structure, and process. These dimensions 
were related and discussed in correspondence with the literary and cultural concepts 
of behaviourism, structuralism, and functionalism. Before the participants' second 
exposure to the videos they were given a recognition test in which they were asked to 
react to 1 5 items each one describing an idea in function. According to the analysis of 
variance there is a significant difference in degree of difficulty in the ideas but no 
difference at all between the classes. The degrees of difficulty have been used to 
establish a super-ordinal evolutionary scale, which measures comprehension of ideas 
linked to the cultural dimensions of society. The values on the competence factors (FI, 
FII) were filtered through the values on the literary scale. Thereby those dimensions 
of the model societies that describe degrees of competence needs became apparent. 
Thus, it has been shown that literature is a necessary instrument for perceiving the 
disparity of a society and for developing competence, provided that its basic idea is 
transparent. 



A primary goal for the study of Swedish language and literature at the 
gymnasium level (comparable to senior high school/secondary school or first year 
college) is to acquire knowledge of modern literary texts with particular stress on 20 th 
-century ideas related to culture and society. According to this formulation of the 
national curriculum, it is taken for granted that ideas are transferred through literature. 
No doubt, our century is now old enough to provide us with a perspective on its 
development, and the connections that may be made between political and socio- 
economic growth and the cultural currents of time. However, which those ideas are, 
and the way they appear in literary texts, are problems to be solved by teachers alone. 

In textbooks on the history of literature we frequently find ambitious chapters 
about modernism in arts and literature. But this coupling often leaves the rest of the 
society aside, at least in the sense that ideas related to societal events are not presented 
with conceptual clarity, so that the reader can make the connections himself. 

During earlier epochs, evolutionary events were manifested and remembered 
in literature. This was true also of the last century. Thus it is not at all remarkable that 
the two world wars, the Cold War, and the east-west conflict as a whole have left a 
mark in people's thoughts about their existence. Therefore not only modernism but 
also other literary transformed thinking is relevant to the study of ideas, as for 
example in novels about the War, the idealised commons, and narratives from the 
Swedish provinces. The interesting point to examine is the extent to which these 
genres have properties characteristic of the ideas that can be identified as basic. 

It is commonly accepted in the scientific community that there exist two basic 
models according to which organic systems develop and which therefore are naturally 
used for the development and design of civilisations. One model builds on (1) affinity 
(dependency between individual and environment), the other on (2) structure. A third 
model has been developed, which builds on information and control and is a (3) 
process model. The three fundamental ideas of affinity, structure, and process may be 
expressed by other similar concepts depending on the purpose for which they are to be 
used. The first, for example, is the one used within the S-R theory in behavioural 
science, that is, behaviourism. The second is sometimes called the theory of Gestalts 
or fields, which means that it is a model of development and maturity. The third is a 
communication model, which is technological rather than science oriented. In its basic 
parts it is a hybrid and is similar to the first model. 

Used as model of a civilisation the first could be the model of the totalitarian 
society, against which we were warned by Huxley, Orwell and others, and which 
Skinner brought to a head in "Beyond Freedom and Dignity". The ideas of 
structuralism are to be found in an ecological society, based on wholeness and fated, 
cyclic development. Consequently, a central concept within Gestalt theory is 
"common fate". The model is represented in the works of Kafka, who writes about the 
fields of power that the human being is inexorably exposed to. It exemplifies 
European structuralism as it relates to Kurt Levin's concept of power vectors defining 
a life space. The ideas behind the process model have been implemented in terms of 
growth, that is a linearly progressive development, which requires recurrent 
regulations in order not to break down. The process model has much in common with 
behaviourist concepts but also with functionalism. Huxley represents this model in 
certain respects in his future-oriented novel "Brave New World" but more 
functional istic is Margaret Atwood in "The Handmaid's Tale". In general, 
characteristic of functionalism is its concentration on single-valued functions, that is, 
authors magnify one human function, such as reproduction. 



The aim of this education-oriented experiment was to study the extent to 
which it is possible for students at the gymnasium level to 

(1) learn the conceptual range of modern ideas, and 

(2) recognise them when they appear in a non-literary context. 

Method 

Participating Students 

The participating students were around 19 years of age and at the time of the 
study enrolled at a city gymnasium, situated in the university town of Lund, southern 
Sweden, in 1996/97. They numbered 1 17 in all and represented four classes, one from 
the aesthetics program, two from the natural sciences program and one from the social 
sciences program. The course on modern literature and society took place as part of 
the ordinary curriculum during the students' third and final year. The teacher, who 
was responsible for both the course and the experiment, had known the students in 
these four classes since their first year. 

The preconditions concerning the students' knowledge of literature are the 
same for all four classes. The stress had continuously been put on quality before 
quantity and on various forms of testing and accounting for results. From the 
beginning the teacher had trained the students in reading literary texts analytically and 
identifying the central idea. The classes had also been used to studying thematically, 
for example, the saga genre, the narrative technique, the conflict development of the 
drama, the realism in 1 9 th -century novels, and the feminist movement as reflected in 
works of Strindberg and Ibsen. 

Materials 

An idea is an abstraction. When humans are exposed to an idea they capture it 
intuitively, that is, react immediately and adequately in the situation, provided that the 
idea is of special import to them. Thus intuition is something a person has after having 
built up knowledge and experiences into invariants, which, when they are once 
established, may not easily be broken down into pieces again. Intuition is used 
especially in situations that are novel to the individual. In the case of grown-ups, an 
intuitive behaviour is conceived as being equal to competence, at least in those 
situations which allow no time for analysis or reflection before a decision has to be 
made. 

Nature has equipped us with the ability to build up invariants, which are of 
immediate importance for our survival as an individual and as a species. Just think of 
the infant who refuses to crawl over the edge of a cliff, despite the fact that a glass top 
is covering it, because the eyes tell it not to. The infant can make clear neither to 
himself nor to others why he is not crossing the glass. He just reacts adequately in 
relation to what he sees. The experiments on the "visual cliff in the 1950's and 
1960's (Gibson & Walk, 1960) became famous, because the researchers could show 
that infants differ in expressing an invariant. The visual cliff elicited wonder, 
frustration, anger, fright, etc, various expressions showing the significance of the 
established invariant, which may be named by concepts such as "barrier", 
"separation", "height", and "danger", depending on the degree of intuitive 
consciousness displayed in the situation. The more adequate the reaction, the greater 
"power in the system", so to speak. What the researchers of those experiments could 
not control, however, is the path towards the establishment of the invariant, which had 
not been equal, in spite of the young age and limited experience of the children. 



In an educational situation it is the teacher who is supposed to help the 
students build up knowledge and offer them possibilities to make experiences. In the 
case of literature study the teacher should help to identify the various properties that 
constitute an idea. He/she should draw the borderlines between ideas and test the 
effect of teaching. In this way, the "power in the system" that has been reached by the 
path chosen can be controlled. Nevertheless, it is completely impossible for a teacher 
to control the knowledge creating pathways of every gymnasium student in his 
establishing of an intellectual invariant of the actual kind. What the teacher can 
control is the means and materials to which the students had access during the lessons. 

Against this background a reasonable method for testing the establishment of 
an idea was judged to be the "visual cliff' method (Campos, Hiatt, Ramsey, 
Henderson, & Svejda, 1978). Thus it was decided that invariants should be tested in 
an immediate manner, in a situation that was new in relation to the instructional 
situation and the materials used there. This implied at the same time the avoidance of 
both fact grinding and paper writing. The latter method is usually the preferred one in 
literature courses but it does not necessarily lead to intuition, or, at least, if it does, 
this is hard to prove. The selection of texts and structuring of the subject matter was 
made with the purpose of testing the immediate pick-up of ideas. This step was 
preceded by intensive and thorough conceptual work, which will be reported in the 
following section together with the applied materials. 

Selection 

The textbook used in the history of literature in all four classes was "Dikten 
och vi"(The Fiction and We) (Brodow, et al., 1987 and 1991). Since not all presented 
authors can be represented in the same course, it was important to form prototypical 
groups of similar "members" from whom a selection could be made. All the authors 
have been listed, who have got a presentation of considerable length and who have 
been described by means of terminology that refers to a cultural "ism", genre, 
technique, motif, spirit and the like (ideas are not very tangible in textbooks). The 
descriptions were used as column notations. Groupings appeared by a so-called 
cluster analysis, which means that the author names having one or several notations in 
common were grouped together. By this method certain groups become more 
homogeneous than others, and it is evident which notations are prototypical of each 
group, as seen in the following table. 

Table 1. 

Grouping with Prototypical Content 

Idea 
Author 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 



Orwell 


X 


X 


X 








Golding 


X 


X 


X 








Jersild 


X 


X 


X 








Martinson 


X 






X 


X 


X 


Boye 


X 






X 




X 



Explanations: 1= future fiction, 2 = civilisation criticism, 3 = symbolism, 4 = documentary report, 
5 = modernism, 6 = animation, 7 = poetical innovation, 8 = primitivism, 9 = proletarian, 
10 = futurism, 1 1 = politics, 12 = sensuality, 13 = anxiety 



Table 1 gives an example of how groups can be built up and demarcated against each 
other by means of cluster analysis. The cluster analysis developed in PERTEX was 
used (Helmersson, 1 992). The table shows on which grounds the group has been 
composed and shows the prototypical authors to be Orwell, Golding, and Jersild. Thus 
the other two authors have more in common with each other than with the rest of the 
group, especially because they are characterised in terms of modern poetry. But they 
also belong to this group because of the space epic "Aniara" (by Martinson) and the 
novel "Kallocain" (by Boye), which both are "future fictions". Likewise linkages 
could be made to other groups. For example "civilisation criticism" together with 
"new realism" would link Solzhenitsyn, Boll, and Lessing. Closely related to this 
kernel is then Myrdal by "documentary report" and "politics", while Remarque and 
Linna form a cluster of their own within the group because of the "war" concept. On 
the whole, this latter conceptual demarcation in its sense of here and now reality 
differs from the one presented in Table 1, which focuses on properties of fiction. 

This kind of study constituted the basis for the selection and presentation of a 
list of author names to the students. On this list different lines of thought were 
represented. One part of the course was the choosing of a novel, reading it and 
presenting in class the way a certain author has implemented a particular idea. 
Another part was the taking of notes and study of the other students' presentations. 
Thus the choice of novel had to be made carefully. When the students had made their 
choices, a list of author names was generated which was the same for all classes. The 
criterion for selection of a particular name was that it had been chosen by at least two 
students. By this measure a kernel was specified. Thereafter some additions were 
made so that every class, by either presenting or going through the texts, had prepared 
the same subject matter. The list finally contained the following 32 names: 

Margaret Atwood, Karen Blixen, Michail Bulgakov, Albert Camus, Stig Dagerman, 
Kerstin Ekman, Joseph Heller, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Aldous Huxley, 
Eyvind Johnson, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Par Lagerkvist, Sara Lidman, Torgny 
Lindgren, Vaino Linna, Ivar Lo-Johansson, Thomas Mann, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 
Harry Martinson, Moa Martinson, George Orwell, Marcel Proust, Erich Maria 
Remarque, Aksel Sandemose, Jean-Paul Sartre, Goran Tunstrom, Agnes von 
Krusenstierna. 

Not only entire novels were included in the course but also sample texts from 
anthologies (Brodow, et al., 1988 and 1991; Widing, et al., 1990). Texts from the 
drama genre were not included. A natural part, however, was the lyrical modernism, 
which was exemplified with the help of symbolism (Verlaine, Rimbaud), 
expressionism (Lagerkvist, Sodergran), futurism (Lundkvist, Diktonius), dadaism 
(Tzara) and surrealism (Breton, Ekelof). Those parts of the subject matter that could 
not be studied in class were expected to be prepared individually. 

Video Materials 

As well as written texts audio-visual materials produced in the USA were used 
in the course. In the 1970's, like the present day, the development of society had a 
direct effect on instruction and matters of civilisation were given a great deal of 
attention at school. At the University of Boulder, CO, the Biological Science 
Curriculum Study developed in collaboration with Crystal Productions of Seattle, CA, 
a material for the study of man in modern society. It consists of slides and films 



produced according to the theme "Projections for the future" (Lee & Mayer, 1976). 
The projections are three, each one building on one of the three basic models 
mentioned earlier. They are called "behaviour model" "humanist model" and "growth 
model". Each model is built up by ideas that constitute a whole, an ideology. To 
illustrate the society in question an episode has been recorded which contains crucial 
properties of that environment and the prerequisites necessary for individuals to make 
a living. The episodes were prepared for use at high school level. This is one reason 
for using the series. The other reason is its background material, which are literary 
and popular science texts related to contemporary ideas. 

For an illustration of the relevance of the material for the study of modern 
ideas the three sequences will be shortly related together with the constructors' 
background texts. Many readers will recognise the titles. Anyway, they could serve in 
giving a view over the sphere of thought that was the starting point for this study. 

The Behaviour model concentrates on a young man who is rescued from under- 
nourishment and taken to hospital: he is suffering from amnesia. A narrative is 
enacted about a civilisation, which, by means of behaviour modification tries to 
socialise the young man into a collective. 
Background texts: 

Gray, F., P.S. Graubard, and H. Rosenberg. 1974. Little Brother is Watching You. 
Psychology Today 7(10):42-50. 

Skinner, B.F. 1972. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Bantam, New York. 
Skinner, B.F. 1960. Walden Two. Macmillan, New York. 

The Humanist model is illustrated by a story about a young man who arrives at an 

ecological tree farm and who gets to know himself with the guidance of people who 

bring about a feeling for nature and human dignity. 

Background texts: 

Bateson, G. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of the Mind. Ballantine, New York. 

Harman, Willis W. 1972. The Nature of Our Changing Society: Implication for 

Schools. Curriculum and the Cultural Revolution. Edited by D.E. Purple and M. 

Belanger. McCutchan, Berkeley, pp. 4-63. 

Schumaker, E. 1973. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. Harper & 

Row, New York. 

The Growth model shows a young man on his way into a modern city, but essential 

functions in the society are out of order and this technical dysfunction becomes a 

symbol of the limits within interacting systems. 

Background texts: 

Goldsmith, Edward and The Ecologist editors. 1972. Blueprint for survival. Houghton 

Mifflin, Boston. 

Hardin, G. 1968. The Tragedy of Commons. Science 162(3859): 1243-48. 

Meadows, Dennis, et al. 1972. The Limits of Growth. Universe. New York. 

Procedure 

The instruction process took place during about 18 hours (2.5 hours a week) in 
the spring term of 1997. The procedural design was mainly the following: 

First week: General introduction to 20 th -century literature. List of author names was 
distributed (see Selection). The names were grouped under some general headings 



like "Renewal of prose", etc in order not to bind the names to certain ideas at this 
stage of the process. 

Second week: Display of the video-produced slides (see Video Materials). The slide 
version was chosen because it had been proved to function better (more information) 
than the movie version for a focus on certain phenomena. The show lasted for 60 
minutes. Lesson on the prerequisites of the three models. A list of concepts and ideas 
connected to each model grew out of a comparison between the episodes the students 
had seen. Table 2 gives some examples of this comparative analysis. 

Table 2. 

Model and Idea: Example of Comparative Analysis 

Behaviourism Structuralism Process/Functionalism 

Scientific Scientific Technical-Mathematical 

Linear Non linear Linear 

Causality Evolution Steering and Control 

Instrumental Gestalt, Growth, Feedback 

Conditioning Maturity 

Reward Understanding Communication 



Third week: Lesson on the cultural "isms", which were illustrated with examples from 
poetry. Comparison between the isms and the basic models and examples of 
representatives among novelists. Behaviourism was judged to be very similar to the 
surrealism (compare automatic writing, freedom from control of sense and morality, 
primitivism, Freudian positivism, and Joyce's narrative). Structuralism has many 
more aspects than the model of development conveys but may to a high degree be 
compared with expressionism (compare its striving toward a conception of the 
wholeness of man, intensive modes of expression, gestalt formation against 
background, tension by passing borderlines). In this range of excitement we find 
similarities between, for example, Lagerkvist, Kafka, Hesse, Mann, and Ekman. The 
process model, here also called functionalism, is an expression of design as opposed 
to science. As such it is close to futurism (compare machine cult, violence, devotion 
to technical inventions, forward movement). In this context the aim was to find 
similarities between, for example, Lundkvist and Diktonius on the one hand, and 
between Huxley and Atwood on the other. It was also plausible to explain that Orwell 
is not a futurist, although he wrote 1984 in 1948, but rather a behaviourist in the way 
he outlined society in this work. Or, that Hemingway in certain respects is a 
functionalist linguistically but a behaviourist in his narrative. 

The teacher told the students that the course would end with a test and that it 
was important that everyone did his/her best to present and make clear the ideas of the 
chosen novel. 

Fourth - sixth week: Individual work - study of a novel. 

Seventh - ninth week: Presentations. If necessary, a discussion afterwards, notes on 
ideas and isms together with examples. Issues that turned out to be unclear or 
misunderstood were explained and the fundamentals underlying a certain 



classification elucidated. In cases where various concepts were possible there was a 
discussion between teacher and class until a consensus was reached concerning the 
most appropriate analysis of the novel. During the final lesson the teacher informed 
the students about the test. They were told that it was not going to be composed of 
fact or knowledge items, but would be a kind of test in which the respondent is able to 
demonstrate recognition and discrimination of ideas presented in constructed 
situations. The importance of filling in missing gaps during the coming weeks was 
stressed, and also of acquiring an overview by systematising and synthesising. The 
information that both textbook and notes were allowed as means of assistance during 
the test was meant to be of help in the final preparation. The time span between end of 
course and test was set at about four weeks. 

Results 

The three models seen from the reported educational perspective may be 
characterised as ideas put into operation, that is the event that they portray strictly 
follows an idea. Elstrup Rasmussen (1997) has analysed the dialogues of every scene, 
and has shown that this is the case. Thus by means of audio- visual cues, a 
comprehension of ideas should be mediated immediately to the viewer. In literature, 
however, the circumstances are different. The descriptions of isms are implicit, which 
implies that the reader cannot expect an unambiguous and consequent follow-up of a 
model. Moreover, as was pointed out in the course, a literary work often represents 
more than one ism, for example structuralism in the content and behaviourism in the 
technique. Literature is an expression of ideas in function. 

Consequently, a problem to be solved was the matter of constructing a test 
instrument, which measures the comprehension of ideas in function. The version 
finally used consists of textually formulated situations, each of which contains cues to 
an idea or ism. Since the recognition concerned comprehension and not memory, the 
situations do not contain explicit cues, such as known words and names from texts 
that have been read, and are not reformulated from those texts. Comprehension is 
something abstract and thus the pick-up of the idea shall be made intuitively and not 
through analysis in the test situation. The test construction is presented in the 
following section. 

Test Construction 

Because the aim of the course was to study modern ideas as reflected in 
authorship, the recognition of an idea should give an author name as response. In the 
section about selection of materials it was described the way a cluster analysis was 
used to find the prototypical grouping in a collection of names. Based on the first 
cluster analysis (Table 1) a second cluster analysis was performed. This one had the 
task of identifying those concepts that could be associated most unambiguously with 
the 32 names. In this way 15 concepts were generated thus forming the basis for the 
construction of the situations making up the test form. For the generation of a proper 
recognition task the 32 author names were listed with the purpose of facilitating the 
students' response. Of course even though there is one best name for each situation, 
alternatives were possible. Just as the infant on the visual cliff explores the glass top 
before he decides whether to cross over or not, the student needed to compare the 
situations to put a certain name in the most adequate place. In scoring the test, 
alternatives were equally weighted. 



10 



Testing time was set at 60 minutes, depending on the type of test. A student 
who has no conception of the kind required and who cannot respond immediately has 
no need for more time. The 15 situations describe the following ideas, isms and 
concepts: 

Expressionism, futurism, surrealism, behaviourism, Gestalt, war, time, social realism, 
functionalism, existentialism, idealism of the commons, psychoanalysis, magic 
realism, romanticism, provincialism. 

The test will not be presented in its entirety, since it is still in development, but the 
principle of the construction is illustrated by a text example so that the reader can put 
himself into the respondent's place. This is the wording of the instruction: 

Instruction 

In this booklet you will find some pieces of text. Each of them explains an idea and 
makes it concrete. To each text belongs a preamble, which puts the text into a 
situation. You are now asked to gather the idea and to associate it with the name of an 
author. (List supplied.) This name will be your response. Even if you can think of 
more than one name as a possible response, you should select only one. As you see, 
many names will be left. 

(Further explanations and answers to questions at the beginning of the test were also 
given.) The following item will be given as an illustration: 

Example Item 

At a seminar in Stockholm held sometime during the 1930's, the Swedish masters of 
social engineering, the Myrdals, invited a certain Dr Watson to give some inspiration. 
Who could have reproduced his thoughts in literary print? 

"Give me a dozen well shaped, healthy children and I guarantee that I can take each one randomly and 
train it to become just any specialist you like, doctor, lawyer, artist, yes even master thief, totally 
irrespective of the child's ability, interests, race, or ancestors." 

In this example there are several cues to the behaviourism: the art of social 
engineering and the name Watson, which was included since Skinner as an author was 
not mentioned in the course. In the words Watson uses it is evident that he is 
describing instrumental conditioning and associated concepts. The linguistic cues are 
'randomly', 'any /. . ./ you like', and 'irrespective of/. . ./'. The best response to this 
item would be Orwell, but characteristics of behaviourism are apparent in Huxley's 
works as well, so this response is also correct. 

The Educational Ground of the Test 

As already noted, there are very clear limitations as to what the teacher can 
control in the learning situation. The classical test type requires a 1-1 relationship 
between the stimulus situation and the students' responses. Further, all possible 
answers must be known. This test is not a classical one but adapted to the 
requirements of the recently reorganised Swedish gymnasium. It follows that, within 
limits, there is no a priori right or wrong. The student must react adequately to a 
number of co-operating factors in the test situation and this implies a more dynamic 
response space. In this connection, the new criterion referenced grading system may 
be seen as taking the students' competence within a certain area into account. Since 



11 



the teacher cannot control the competence building factors - especially those 
concerned in the reading of literature - the test must be of a kind that considers 
dynamics outside school. The pupil must prove the level he/she has reached, 
independent of school. 

It is important to note that Swedish curricula have been - and still are - 
influenced by the US. The American or English word for 'knowledge' is in Swedish 
'kunskap' and in German 'Kenntnis'. (Compare Old Norse 'kna' = I can). However, 
when a Swede or a German talks about 'vetande' and 'Wissen' respectively the 
American has no word to use. So, when Swedish politicians and educators want to 
introduce the concept of 'competence' into the new US inspired grading system, it 
becomes 'knowledge' or 'qualification', in spite of the fact that the new grading 
system is very well suited to speaking of competence. 

Students ' Reactions to the Test 

After the test had been distributed, several spontaneous reactions came from 
the students regarding the test items. Despite thorough information given at the end of 
the course several students thought that the texts had to be recalled from literature. 
They had obviously prepared using the wrong premises. This mishap strikingly 
demonstrates the power of fact grinding as learning strategy. These students are 
highly conservative and cannot adapt to new test situations and demands. That the 
students felt stress in the examination, because of the short time they had at their 
disposal, is quite natural. 

In discussions after the test some natural science students commented on the 
items as if they had difficulties in discriminating between textual expressions. "The 
text could be about practically anything" and " If you had required the name of the 
ism, it would have been easier" were some reactions. They are obviously not very 
widely read. Another student was so frustrated that he left the classroom without even 
making an attempt, because "it is impossible to just guess". That is quite correct, of 
course. The probability is very low of getting a hit in a dynamic workspace. The 
respect to which these reactions and commentaries are symptomatic of something 
crucial will be further examined. 

Degree of Difficulty in the Concepts 

Against the background that the test is aimed at measuring comprehension, 
and thus be indicative of competence, an analogy with the situation on the visual cliff 
can be made. There is a clear parallel to be drawn between the shallow and the deep 
side and the concepts' surface and depth characteristics. For the sake of the parallel 
the concepts are called deep and shallow. The shallow concepts appeal to fact- or 
sensation-based characteristics that can be recognised as known to the perceiver. Thus 
the shallow or surface side of an idea serves as basis for further exploration into the 
conceptual depth. The deep concepts require the surface layout as standpoint. 
Through the perceiver' s movements in diverse directions it forms the basis for 
establishing invariants, that is concepts of a higher order. The difference is the same 
one that holds for 'knowledge' or 'qualification' versus 'competence'. Knowledge is 
required in order to attain competence. In an educational setting, a teacher may have 
augmented the students' knowledge register but whether this knowledge has matured 
into competence cannot be tested by means of tasks that appeal to known relations. It 
is therefore crucial to make the distinction between 'understanding' and 
'comprehension'. To understand (Old Engl, 'vorstanden' = stand in position of 
acceptance) means to be subjected to that which is obvious, while to comprehend 



12 



means to make new connections out of obviousness. With this distinction the 
situations of the reported test elicit either understanding or comprehension. When a 
respondent clings to surface characteristics he may get lost. The more unfamiliar the 
situation described, that is, the less he understands the text, the greater the chance that 
he attends to depth phenomena. It is a matter of conceiving the "illusion". Referring 
to the educational procedure (Table 2) the 15 concepts have been assigned one of the 
video-displayed models and also a notation on their being shallow or deep. This 
relation is presented in Table 3 together with weights, which will be further explained. 

Table 3. 

Degree of Difficulty in Relation to Model and Conceptual Disparity 



Concept 


Model 


Disparity 


Weight 


Behaviourism 


B 


S 


1 


Surrealism 


B 


s 


1 


Existentialism 


B 


D 


2 


Provincialism 


B 


D 


2 


Psychoanalysis 


B 


D 


2 


Magic Realism 


S 


S 


3 


Romanticism 


S 


S 


3 


Social Realism 


S 


S 


3 


Expressionism 


S 


D 


6 


Gestalt 


S 


D 


6 


Idealism of the Commons 


s 


D 


6 


War 


s 


D 


6 


Futurism 


p 


S 


2 


Functionalism 


p 


D 


4 


Time 


p 


D 


4 



Explanations: Model B = Behaviour, S 
Disparity: S = shallow, D = deep 



Structure, P = Process; 



In the present context it is assumed that many different theoretical schemes exist in 
the study of literature. For this reason, every author of a comprehensive book on 
literature presents details of his/her conception in various ways. To generate a 
common basis for making transparent the underlying paradigmatic information it is 
assumed that only three models are of relevance, namely the previously mentioned 
Behaviour, Structure, and Process models. In a different context, B. Bierschenk 
(1988) has shown that the strength of their associated cue structures differs in the 
situation of perceiving and judging the videos. Consequently, it may be argued that 
the Behaviour and Process models have more in common with each other than they 
both have with the Structure model (see B. Bierschenk, 1988, p 326). 

The reaction patterns on the visual cliff were projected against a background 
of behaviour science and physiological variables. The variables define the basic idea 
of the experiments. The three civilisation models represent in the present context a 
basic idea and the concepts are variables, which help to define, at least partly, this 
idea. Each of the three models comprises a degree of difficulty regarding the 
comprehension of the relationship between the basic components. With reference to 
B. Bierschenk's study this scale has been used in a way that the concepts have been 



13 



assigned a value which denotes whether they are shallow (value 1) or deep (value 2). 
They were also assigned a value that denotes the model to which they belong (B = 1, 
P = 2, S = 3). These two values have been used for multiplication, resulting in a 
conceptual weight (Table 3). Thus the weight 1 (lxl) denotes the shallowest concept, 
whereas the weight 6 (2 x 3) denotes the deepest one. 

A problem for the visual cliff experimenters was that they could only infer the 
experiential background of the infants by their behaviour in the situation. This 
background was supposed to have been governing of which experimental factors 
attracted the child and became a value in the exposed situation. For example, it was 
taken for granted that infants who cried and defied the danger to get to their mother on 
the other side of the cliff were too bound to their mothers and that this binding made 
them blind to the consequences of the crossing. The experiential background had 
retarded the development of their competence in reacting adequately in a situation, 
which, in principle, is a matter of survival or not. In the same way the variables 
established in the present context will help to indicate whether the students have been 
able to react to the conceptual disparity that has been built into the test form. 

The more specific questions to be studied in relation to the aim of the study 
can now be formulated more specifically, namely 

(1) whether the degree of difficulty can be used to differentiate between the concepts 
and 

(2) whether the classes differ in comprehension. 

Table 4 shows the results of an analysis of variance, which has been calculated 
according to the frequency, with which the concepts have been conceived, seen over 
all four classes. The statistical package of Minitab (1996) has been applied. The 
ANOVA for "class" (left side) shows that the four classes NV3a (1), NV3c (2), SP3b 
(3), and ES3b (4) significantly do not differ in comprehending the concepts when 
these are grouped according to degree of difficulty. Even though in certain classes 
there may be students who are highly competent at reading literature, the test shows 
that this is not associated with a choice of study program. 

The verification that the classes are equal is in its turn dependent on the 
analysis of the degree of difficulty (right side), which shows that the capability 

Table 4. 

Comprehension of Concepts seen over Class and Degree of Difficulty 



Source 


DF 


SS 


MS 


F 


P 


Source 


DF 


SS 


MS 


F 


P 


Class 


3 


21.2 


7.1 


0.60 


0.617 


Degree 


4 


179. 
1 


44.8 


4.93 


0.002 


Error 


56 


657.7 


11.7 






Error 


55 


499. 
8 


09.0 






Total 


59 


678.9 








Total 


59 


678. 
9 
































Class 


N 


M 


Sdv. 






Degree 


N 


M 


Sdv. 






1 


15 


6.00 


3.61 






1 


8 


9.00 


2.93 






2 


15 


5.20 


3.26 






2 


16 


4.94 


3.32 






3 


15 


5.00 


3.14 






3 


12 


3.00 


1.91 






4 


15 


4.33 


3.68 






4 


8 


5.63 


2.93 


















6 


16 


4.75 


3.42 







DF= degrees of freedom, SS= sum of squares (cells), MS= cell mean, F= F-quotient (systematic 
variance/error variance), P= probability for significance 



14 



of concepts to differentiate the degree of difficulty is highly significant (p = 0.002). 
The six values form five levels. However, the distance between them is not linear, that 
is, metrically the step from 1 to 2 is not equal to the step from 2 to 3, etc. (The 
prerequisite of the test is quality and not quantity). On the other hand, it could be 
established that the order between the degrees is the correct one, thus implying that 
concepts of first degree really are easier to comprehend than concepts of second 
degree, etc. Further, there is no established fifth degree, which means that the sixth 
degree is most significantly separated from the fourth degree. It is important to note 
that this order relation has been empirically determined, a very strong foundation for 
the given theoretical formulation. 

Seen in relation to the discussion about the scaling of the models the following 
step in effect implies a liberation from the uncertainties associated with assigning a 
unit of measurement to the concepts shown in Table 3. Consequently, the only 
observation of interest in Table 5 is whether a change can be observed or not. 
Basically, two observations are needed, namely whether two states or concepts are 
similar or dissimilar in the transition from one degree of difficulty to the next. The 
order relation forms a linear, monotonously progressing super-ordinal scale. For its 
use, see B. Bierschenk (1997b). It is a most peculiar fact that this kind of scale picks 
up the underlying transformational information, which is non-linear. The next step is 
to get a conception of how the degrees assemble the characteristics of the concepts in 
relation to how the classes had comprehended them. For each degree of conceptual 
difficulty a mean value was calculated for each class. The result is a value that states 
the relative distance of the class in relation to each degree. Thus comprehension 
determines whether the concepts of a degree descend (-) or ascend (+) in its direction. 
Loevinger's index of homogeneity has been used to indicate the quality in the scale. 
Note that a value above (> .50) is considered to be of high quality (Heidenreich, 1995, 
p 439). By this measure one can define transition points, that is singular points on the 
scale where a disparity is apparent, to speak in Gibsonian terms. Table 5 shows the 
super-ordinal scale analysis. The first letter in the combination stands for model 
(B,P,S), the second for shallow (S) and deep (D). 

The scaling procedure has given five levels, expressed in six degrees, which 
have been named according to their prototypical properties. The first- and second- 
degree concepts are related to Behaviourism. The shallow properties have been named 

Table 5. 

Super-ordinal Relationship between Classes and Degree of Difficulty 





Class 








Degree 


1 


2 


3 


4 


1 


BS- 


BS+ 


BS- 


BS- 


2 


BD- 


BD- 


BD- 


BD- 


3 


SS+ 


SS- 


SS+ 


SS+ 


4 


PD+ 


PD+ 


PD+ 


PD+ 


6 


SD- 


SD- 


SD- 


SD+ 



Bold = Points of Transition 

Loevinger's index of homogeneity (H, = .698) 



15 



Sensation and the deep properties Identity. The third-degree concepts are shallow and 
are related to Structuralism in the sense of Fate. The fourth degree has been named 
Mastery, while it contains deep Process/Functionalism concepts. In this connection it 
is interesting to note that Futurism has been comprehended as related to 
Behaviourism. The prototypical name of the sixth degree concepts is Individualism. 
For the sake of concretising the relative difficulty in the concepts they will now be 
related to type of literature. 

BS: Sensation 
{Behaviourism, Surrealism} 

These are easily comprehended concepts on the shallow side, which refer to 
the action genre, literature dealing with idol making for both sexes. It builds on 
primitive sensations, that is simple chains of event and means of tension reduction by 
which the reader puts him/herself into the situation of the main character and lives 
his/her life. Here and now is all that counts. The events may also take place on an 
inner level, presupposing that the chain of events can be followed. In this sense, 
surrealism applies to the naive and instinct-based behaviour of human beings. 

BD: Identity 

{Existentialism, Futurism, Provincialism, Psychoanalysis} 

The deep side of this degree puts forward an ego-centred literature. Simple 
relations in the form of if-then logic, that is, thinking in consequences, in relation to 
the self, are typical. The literature is often emotional in the sense that it portrays man 
in machine-like situations, as prisoner of his own thoughts and means of expression. 
Existentialism, much favoured by students at the gymnasium level, is against this 
background a preliminary stage in the development of logical reasoning. Further, 
violence always lies in wait within the conceptually immature thoughts. 

SS: Fate 

{Magic Realism, Romanticism, Social Realism} 

This literature is not intended to be either analytical or heavy. This is a kind of 
literature that often becomes magnificent through the twisting together of the personal 
history of the author in an idiosyncratic manner with that which is described, be it 
time, social stratum or cultural anchorage. The authors representative of this degree of 
difficulty are most often gifted storytellers, who produce novels characterised by a 
large vocabulary. Fate-bound literature has not sharpened the lens enough, so that the 
reader may perceive the distance to the fiction. 

PD: Mastery 
{Functionalism, Time} 

The concepts that form this degree have a high level of abstraction and, 
consequently, the literature is highly stylised. The author acts systematically and 
logically in relation to a concrete problem. It is not necessarily a matter of pure fiction 
but the author conscientiously peels the social and emotional cement away from the 
story. When emotions belong to the problem space, they are intellectually treated, as 
for example cynicism, a functionalist way of controlling anxiety. 



\b 



SD: Individualism 

{Expressionism, Gestalt, Idealism of the Commons, War} 

These concepts refer to a literature that deals with the morality and ethical 
problems of mankind, reflected in times of breakdown and catastrophe. It elucidates 
the various stages of maturation in single individuals and entire civilisations. A 
central concept underlying this degree is pregnancy or character in its concrete and 
transformed sense. The quality in characterising a human phenomenon is judged from 
the transparency the author succeeds in giving to his text. The degree of difficulty is 
based on the fact that this literature is and creates synthesis. 

Dimensions in the Comprehension of Ideas 

The transition analysis tells something about the reason for the five degrees 
being established. In the depth dimension of the scale there are four structurally bound 
super-ordinal steps or cutting edges, which denote evolutionary "jumps". The 
evolution curve is also known as the S-curve or integral. This natural science oriented 
method will now be used to manifest the invariants or singularities topologically. 
Figure 1 is a graphical display of the dimensionality in the comprehension curve. This 
mode of presentation has been chosen because it is well suited to represent non-linear 
relations. 

The five degrees established are represented as terminal states, that is, along 
the border of the frame. The curve can be read from left to right, following the order 
of transition, whose directionality indicates clear stages of development. Bold letters 
mark the singularities, which are terms, denoting the final point at which the original 
concepts of the subject matter, the orientation dimension, meet the conception of the 
participating students, the intentional dimension. Figure 1 will now be explicated with 
reference to these two dimensions. 

The vertical dimensions visualise the orientation in the subject matter, while 
the horizontal dimensions visualise the intention. Every term is the result of a 
movement that involves orientation in some space and the individual mental 
prerequisites for accomplishment. In this sense Primitive is the result of Sensation as 
the space in which the individual searches for Identity. When Primitive has been 
established it orients governed by Fate and through this intention the primitive 
orientation transforms into Myth. With Mastery there is a turning point in the curve. 
The functions operate on the myth and transform it into Symbol. When this stage has 
been reached Individualism will be the orientation space to finally move to 
Character. 

In the two dimensions of orientation there are two distinct levels of literature. 
The primitive and mythological is characterised by behavioural and mental frames 
that seem to be determined by culture. The personal and social texture is in focus. The 
second is independent of culture. Both the symbol and character levels concentrate on 
analysis and synthesis respectively, to focus on individual growth. 

The intentional dimensions also visualise two distinct levels. These 
characterise the range of comprehensive ability that a single individual may obtain. 
The upper dimension represents the whole conceptual range of the curve. This means 
that the individual can make moves adequately on all levels. The lower range has 
been restricted. This indicates an individual who can master myths and turn them into 
symbols but is not able to capture the very essence of the modernism. Thus the upper 
dimension represents a comprehension curve in relation to the subject of study, 
whereas the lower one does not. 



17 



Figure 1. 

Holotop of Dimensions in the Comprehension of Ideas 




From Comprehension to Competence 

As has been shown by the holotop in Figure 1 a comprehension scale has been 
established. The comprehended ideas have been studied in a literary context. The 
starting point for the studies, however, were the three basic paradigms whose 
underlying ideas had been projected into video narratives about a human being's life 
in a civilisation built on the respective ideas. The students' first exposure to the videos 
had the purpose of elucidating the basic ideas to facilitate the study of their 
counterparts in modern literature. Thus it is the comprehension of those ideas in 
literary function that has been reported so far. In connection with the first and second 
exposures (after the literature test) to the videos a test form was used consisting of 15 
propositional statements on which a participant indicates on a 10 point scale his/her 
conception of life in the model society in question. This measuring instrument has 
been developed for studying quality of life over time (B. Bierschenk, 1997a). To have 
a point of reference the participants also judged Sweden as a model society, using the 
same items, although unaccompanied by a video projection. Studies based on the 
complete design will be reported elsewhere. 

For the present study it is of interest to reflect the comprehension of ideas in 
literature against the comprehension of their function in the projected societies. 



Because if literature is to have the educational function of preparing the students for 
civilian life it is fundamental that the comprehension they have arrived at through 
fiction, that is, culture, can be transformed into adequate strategies of behaviour in 
real life. It could be argued that the established scale would have captured a general 
culturally bound comprehension of ideas, which could not be separated from the cue 
structure inherent in the civilisation models. 

Competence should not be regarded as culturally bound. B. Bierschenk (1992, 
1995) has presented an empirically based definition of competence, according to 
which competence is a measure of civilisation. This measure is composed of two 
basic factors, (FI) the ability to develop Eigenvalue, and (FII) the visibility of social 
texture. The first factor concerns individuation, the depth of a civilisation, the second 
concerns selection, the shallowness of a civilisation. Thus, to be able to state whether 
the degree of comprehension (culture) is indicative of competence (civilisation) we 
have to know: 

What the students perceive in the models, that is, whether the literary cliff can be 
transformed into the context of civilisation. 

A cliff in the sense that it has been discussed here consists of both shallow and 
deep properties. Both kinds must be perceived in order for an individual to survive 
(Gibson, 1979). The two factors are effective reflectors of survival competence in 
civilisation contexts. It follows that when both Eigenvalue and social texture are low 
in a civilisation no survival competence is required, while high values on both factors 
mean a clearly perceived depth. Since depth is indicative of the unknown, a high 
survival competence is required. 

An experimental problem encountered by the visual cliff experimenters was 
the filtering out of those properties of both sides that might be familiar in the infant's 
perception of distance. Thus the size of the square pattern of the lowered side was 
adjusted accordingly. In this way the experimenters were able to distinguish 
something learnt from genuine survival behaviour. Similarly, the literature scale 
expresses something learnt. So, to be able to deduce anything about the students' 
competence in perceiving and judging the four civilisations (B, S, P, and Sweden), the 
civilisation scale should be filtered through the cultural scale. In preparing for an 
analysis of co- variance the correlation between the dependent variable (FI, FII) and 
the co-variates (Primitive, Myth, Symbol, and Character) was tested. As shown in 
Table 6, the correlation is practically zero. 

Table 6. 

Correlation between Civilisation Measuring Factors 
And the Cultural Scale 





FI 


FII 


P 


M 


S 


FII 


0.144 










P 


-0.004 


-0.040 








M 


-0.005 


-0.023 


0.623 






S 


-0.016 


-0.017 


0.521 


0.752 




C 


-0.020 


-0.028 


0.445 


0.588 


0.743 



Explanations: Dependent Variables FI = Eigenvalue, FII = Social Texture 
Independent Variables: P = Primitive, M = Myth, S = Symbol, C = Character 



19 



This means that the students' reactions to the civilisations can now be corrected in 
relation to their comprehension of the general properties of the models. If no respect 
is paid to this general knowledge no difference between the models can be proved. 
However, as a result of the correction a significant difference becomes apparent. 
Figures 2 and 3 show the perception seen from the Eigenvalue and the social texture 
perspectives respectively. In the present study the test - retest design has not been of 
special interest, therefore the two video exposures have been considered in 
combination. 

Figure 2. 

Perception of Depth in Four Civilisation Models 



QOEKD - 



-1.GE-13 - 



-20E-13 - 




Explanation: Model 1 = Behaviour, 2 = Structure, 3 = Process, 
4 = Sweden 



Figure 3. 

Perception of Shallowness in Four Civilisation Models 



QOCBCO - 



-5CE-M - 



-1.CE-13 -i 







20 



It has been shown (B. Bierschenk, 1997a) that the Behaviour model is highly 
favoured as fundament of the ideal society. However, this result could not be 
corrected for the participants' judgement of the four models. In the present study a 
dramatic change with respect to the Behaviour model can be noted. Apart from what 
is comprehended, the participants' perception of it as a civilisation cliff is extremely 
negative. There is no possible way of developing Eigenvalue, and the social texture, 
which should provide for such a development, is virtually non-perceivable. This is a 
competent judgement because the survival competence in terms of individuation and 
selection needed in a civilisation founded on behaviourism is in fact none. In the 
civilisation based on Structure the individual development is not entirely rigid but 
since the social texture is negatively perceived there are no cliff properties of any 
significance to the individuals. The Process society has been perceived as requiring 
competence. It is the only civilisation cliff perceived. The native society (Sweden) is 
perceived as very similar to a civilisation based on economic and technological 
growth with respect to its ability to develop individuals, but its selection mechanisms 
are not perceived at all. To these students the native society is thus ambiguous as to 
competence survival needs. 

Discussion 

The infant on the Visual Cliff reacts with behaviour that is necessary for 
survival. This survival potential is a phenomenon of human nature. However, the 
reactions are not the same for all children because of individual differences in 
development and experiential background. Similarly, competence should be 
conceived of as a mental potential, which encompasses the ability to acquire 
knowledge, to pick up the invariant information in a situation. One consequence of 
this outlook for an educational system is that schools cannot, by means of 
instructional programs, form the students' competence, only provide for its 
development and structuring. This article is a report on such an effort. 

Abilities to analyse and interpret central, structurally embedded ideas 
through literature study have been exercised and tested during three school years. 
Thereafter, a test was applied, which measures the students' ability to apprehend ideas 
in function. It turned out that in this new situation the developed comprehension is 
equal regardless of aesthetics, natural science, and social science program of study. 
The empirically defined degrees of difficulty in modern concepts and ideas have been 
conceived equally in four classes. Since the significance of this grouping according to 
literary depth is remarkably high, the interpretation is that the students have acquired 
equal mental potential in perceiving diversification. 

Central for a society to survive as civilisation is to develop structures to 
supply its members with personal and social instruments for organising life and for 
contributing to growth. Only in this way can trends and directions be known and 
prospected. Just as the Visual Cliff apparatus could prove direct perception of depth 
and thus survival competence in infants, the instrument discovered in the present 
study could point to direct perception of the survival potential of societies. The main 
results of this experiment could have wide implications theoretically and practically. I 
would like to pinpoint the following: 

The instrument that has been developed has the capacity to reflect literary 
cliffs, that is, degrees of cultural depth mediated in language. By this comprehension 
scale, a bridge is established between the perception of ecological depth and depth in 






21 



society. Both are independent of culture but the societal depth could until now not be 
measured. When cultural ambiguity is filtered out this transformed depth is directly 
perceived provided that the perceiver is able to make adequate judgements. Students 
with different interests have been given the opportunity to acquire knowledge on 
equal terms of the social and cultural texture that form the ground of modern society, 
ground without which its depth would not be perceivable. Consequently, the 
necessary challenge for an educational system is to place young people at the edge 
where the disparity between literature and society is provoking to them. 

References 

Bierschenk, B. (1988). A theoretical basis for estimating quality of life. European 

Journal of Political Economy, 4, 323-332. 
Bierschenk, B. (1992). The synthetic approach to competence. Lund, Sweden: Lund 

University, Department of Psychology. (Unpublished manuscript.) 
Bierschenk, B. (1995). Assessment of competence. A new field of research 

(Kognitionsvetenskaplig forskning, No. 54.) Lund, Sweden: Lund University. 
Bierschenk, B. (1997a). Informational interaction with model-societies of different 

theoretical orientation (Kognitionsvetenskaplig forskning, No. 63). Lund, 

Sweden: Lund University. 
Bierschenk, B. (1997b). A Topometric Approach to Life Quality across Comparted 

Time and Projected Societies. Copenhagen: Copenhagen University, 

Copenhagen Competence Research Centre. (Unpublished manuscript.) 
Brodow, B., Bergstrom, B., & Nettervik, I. (1987, 1991) Dikten och vi. 

Litteraturhistoria for gymnasieskolans teoretiska linjer. Malmo: Gleerup. 
Brodow, B., Bergstrom, B., & Nettervik, I. (1988, 1991). Dikten och vi. Antologifor 

gymnasieskolans teoretiska linjer. Malmo: Gleerup. 
Campos, J. J., Hiatt, S., Ramsay, D., Henderson, C, & Svejda, M. (1978). The 

emergence of fear on the Visual Cliff. In M. Lewis, & L. Rosenblum (Eds.), 

The development of affect (pp. 149-182). New York: Plenum Press. 
Elstrup Rasmussen, O. (1997). Project materials. Copenhagen: Copenhagen 

University, Copenhagen Competence Research Center. (Personal 

communication) 
Gibson, E. J., & Walk, D. J. (1960). The "Visual Cliff'. Scientific American, 202, 64- 

71. 
Gibson, J.J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston, MA: 

Houghton Mifflin. 
Heidenreich, K. (1995). Entwicklung von Skalen. In E. Roth (Ed.), 

Sozialwissenschaftliche Methoden (Pp 407-439). Munich: Oldenbourg. 
Helmersson, H. (1992). Main principles for perspective text analysis via the PC 

system PERTEX. (Kognitionsvetenskaplig forskning, No. 41). (ERIC 

Document Reproduction Service No. ED 352 405, TM 019 324) 
Lee, A. E., & Mayer, W.V. (1976). The program guide to projections for the future. 

Boulder, CO: Biological Science Curriculum Study. 
Minitab Inc. (1996). Minitab reference manual. State College, PA: Minitab. 
Widing, D., Ryden, H, Eriksson, D., Lindskog, R., & Stenhag, G. (1990). Fran 

Gorkij till Sara Lidman. Antologi for gymnasieskolan. Stockholm: Natur och 

Kultur. 



22 



Author's Note 

This study has been carried out as a collaboration project between the Copenhagen 

Competence Research Centre, Psychological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, 

Denmark and the Gymnasium of Spyken, Lund, Sweden. In connection with the use 

of a video material the classes participated in a study of the quality of life, which will 

be reported at an International Conference on Quality of Life in Cities to be held in 

Singapore in March, 1988. For their kind collaboration in determining the 

comprehension levels of the material on modern ideas I thank the students of classes 

ES3b, NV3a, NV3c, and SP3b of 1997, who contributed to the evaluation of the 

curriculum. 

The article has been prepared with financial support from the Danish Research 

Councils. 

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Inger Bierschenk at the 

Copenhagen Competence Research Centre, Copenhagen University, Njalsgade 88, 

DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to 

INGER@axp.psl.ku.dk.